After an all-night session with his Sox therapist, Dr. Georgia, Paul Sullivan decides to end all moratoriums and start answering your Sox questions. Or so he says.
Paul, I'm not being a smart-ass nor am I ripping you. I actually respect your knowledge of baseball and used to look forward to your Cubs Q&A's because you always answered legitimate questions. But please explain to me your M.O. on the Sox questions. Because I respect your knowledge, it bums me out that you rarely answer real Sox questions and that the column has turned into "the dozens" between you and your whiny readers. Also, you place moratoriums on questions before you give the answers. Please, from a real baseball fan who wants to get an inside scoop, reconsider your current format. --Dallas Jenkins, Los Angeles
T.J. is not the only one that feels as he does. Humor is fine when the questions asked are actually bone-headed, but you treat everyone who writes you a letter as though you are doing them the greatest of favors by being a smart-ass. Don't do us any favors. As for my question: Why don't you turn over the Sox beat to another journalist interested in answering fans questions? --Jason Halm, Normal, Ill.
Dallas and Jason, after a long and intense session of Sox therapy with Dr. Georgia, she finally convinced me that I've been suffering from post-traumatic Sox syndrome after six years of covering the Chicago White Sox. This results in crankiness, sarcasm and involuntary lapses of cynicism. Upon deep reflection, I apologize to any e-mailers I've insulted in this column, including TJ from Alaska, and promise to do my best to answer your Sox questions to the best of my ability. All moratoriums are hereby lifted.
I'm thinking about taking my white flag out of the closet and dusting it off. When do you think the Sox will be ready to have me start waving it? --Schlomo Rausdauber, Chicago
Schlomo, the Central Division is so mediocre that the Sox could probably be in contention at .500 in mid-August. Would trading Clayton, Lee, Durham, Foulke, etc. be considered waving the white flag if they brought up guys like Borchard, Crede, Harris and others? I don't sense that Sox fans would be overly upset with a sell-off, even if they were 3-4 games out on July 31. It's not like it's 1997. To paraphrase the Chairman, anyone who thinks the Sox can't catch Minnesota is crazy.
Are the White Sox planning on playing Joe Crede full time at third base this year since they are moving Valentin to shortstop? Also, how much longer will the White Sox deal with Carlos Lee's inconsistent play? Do you see Joe Borchard getting called up before September? --Terry Roth, Chicago
I think Graf will get a fair shot at third, Terry, though obviously he's not the long-term solution there. Crede doesn't have much left to prove at Triple-A, and it may hurt his psyche if he knows he'll never get a chance. He's already better defensively at third than Graf or Valentin, and can hit for average and with some power. Borchard should be called up well before September, especially if Lee doesn't come around.
You'd think that with the Sox having so many problems scoring runs they'd want to bring up a run-producer. The Yankees just brought up one of their top outfield prospects to replace the Vander Wal/Spencer platoon. Then again, they're the Yankees.
I know you hate this question, but given Derek Lowe's success in Boston as a converted closer...oh never mind. What is it going to take to get this team on the winning track? The Sox are playing as if they are the only team in baseball who aren't taking performance enhancing chemicals, and it's getting a little frustrating. I want to see the Sox in the World Series in my lifetime, will it happen ever happen? I'm 30. --Ellie Koester, Elmhurst
Ellie, I believe you were going to ask if Keith Foulke should be made a starter, before you decided that I would disregard your question because of my usual rudeness. That's the old me. The new me says 'Here's what they should do with Foulke if he really wants to become a starter:' The next time the Sox are getting blown out in the fifth inning, let Foulke come on in the sixth and see if he can actually pitch four innings. If he can do that without his arm falling off, give him a start and let him go four or five innings to stretch him out. They can try Marte as closer and see how that works. Of course, it all depends on whether Foulke can throw a curve for a strike, because he can't get by as a starter with his fastball and change.
Remember, Josh Fogg was a closer in college. Look at how well he's doing as a starter.
Hi, my name is Dan and I love all Chicago teams--no matter how bad they are. What I want to know is what is the longest Chicago White Sox game (time and innings) and what are the most runs the Sox have ever scored in a game? --Daniel Aguayo, Cicero
The Sox scored 29 runs against the KC A's on April 23, 1955, still an American League record. Couldn't find the other record in the media guide, but I'm almost certain it was that never-ending Milwaukee game back at old Comiskey in the mid-80s.
The Sox has been one of the worst defensive teams in baseball for a long time, but they have finally found a Gold Glover to support the pitching in Clayton. Is Manuel really serious about benching or getting rid of him or is this a move to light a motivational fire under him? Clayton's lack of errors surely does more for the pitching staff in the win column then what it costs with his bat in lack of run production, doesn't it? --Brian O'Neill, Washington D.C.
Brian, Clayton's glove is certainly as asset, but Manuel was impatient with his bat and decided to go for offense over defense. It's a risk, especially with the young rotation, but with the rest of lineup looking so pathetic at times, Clayton's defense was something they had to give up to create more offense. The Sox should deal Clayton if they can so he can play for someone else. They may have to eat some of his salary, but he deserves to be starting somewhere.
In your description of a Jason Giambi home run to right field< you said the ball was headed in the direction of De La Salle High School. Unless they moved De La Salle any homer to right field could travel around the world and would never travel over De La Salle. The direction of the school is over the left-field fence, for your information. Tim Pender, Oak Lawn
I should have written the ball was headed in the direction of the Dan Ryan. De La Salle High School is on the other side of the Dan Ryan at 34th and Wabash, so technically you are correct. I was trying to let people know that Giambi killed the ball, while giving a plug for all the Meteor alums. The Tribune regrets the error and I offer my sincere apologies to De La Salle High School.
I have just watched the Sox lose their seventh straight and am wondering why I continue to watch this. For the sake of my sanity are any heads going to roll or is this the way mediocrity always feels? --Dan Bowman, Marlette, Mich.
The reason you continue to watch is the same reason people slow down during accidents. It's human nature. Dan, the only heads that are going to roll are the heads belonging to the underachieving players. The coaching staff if safe. The GM is safe. The manager is safe. The sportswriters are not safe, but that's another story.
Where does Frank Thomas play during interleague games away from Chicago? --Bob Bandzwolek, Baltimore
I predict Frank is going to have to sit out most of the interleague games. Manuel can't play both Konerko and Thomas, and Konerko is too hot for him to sit. How Frank handles this remains to be seen, though he told me last week that he'd understand if he had to sit. We'll see.
Is there a reason why the Sox won't play Aaron Rowand? They seem committed to Jeff Liefer as the fourth outfielder, but he has not been producing. Further, the Sox are not happy with Carlos Lee, so why not give Rowand a shot? --Mike Timberlake, Weymouth, Mass.
Mike, Rowand is starting to get a shot, and he homered on Thursday. He needs consistent at-bats if the Sox are going to figure out if he can be an everyday player. Same with Liefer. Having two kids like that on the bench is not conducive to either the Sox or the players. They could use an experienced pinch-hitter, but they'd have to sacrifice a pitcher and go with an 11-man staff. They tried to do this with Harold Baines, but he didn't work out. Maybe Tim Raines would be available for next to nothing.
My earliest fears are being confirmed. The Sox are being held back by their weakest links: Ken Williams and Nardi Contreras. The GM does not know personnel and the pitching coach is being exposed by the ineffectiveness of his current staff and the effectiveness of the ones who no longer pitch under him. --RL Pastor, Santa Barbara, Calif.
I'd like to answer your question here, but I can't find one. I know a lot of Sox fans blame Williams, Contreras and Manuel for the team's problems. Since they're in charge of the players, they deserve their fair share of the blame. But don't forget the players. They're getting paid a lot of money to perform, and they're not living up to the task. There is no way this team should go 90 or so innings without scoring more than two runs in an inning. The offense was supposed to be fool-proof. Obviously, it's not.
So Paul, when are Ray Durham and his $6.3 million salary going to be traded for a viable arm? For all of Ken Williams' grousing about payroll and attendance, there seems to be very little talk about the guy who is under performing most for his money. --Matthew Weflen, Chicago
Matthew, there's not a big market for Durham, whose defense has been shoddy at times and who is known as a streak-hitter. He'd have to go on a big hot streak for a team to pick up the remainder of his salary by the end of July. Since the Sox don't plan to re-sign him, they're listening to offers. With attendance down in so many cities, it looks like it could be a slow market in July.
I'm a lifelong Sox fan, but the one thing that really bothers me about the makeup of this year's team is that as soon as the team gets down by three or more runs they throw in the towel. Sorry, but I don't get it. Can you shed some light as to why the 2002 version of the Sox on paper looks solid, yet in the field looks so wimpy thus far? --Jack Lucas, Naperville
It appears that Kenny Lofton is the key to the offense. He's not getting on base like he did the first few weeks, and is not stealing bases like he did. Magglio is ice cold, and Valentin has never really gotten on a good streak. Frank is finally taking his walks, which he has to do if they're not giving him anything to hit. The Sox are a good offensive team on paper. But they don't do the little things to win, and they can't come up with hits in the clutch like 2000. It's truly an enigma.
Conspiracy and curse of the black cat? I was at the game against Texas when the black cat ran in front of the Sox dugout and onto the field. They finished the night strong with 15 runs, but have been faltering since. Could it have been a jealous Indians fan who released it? Any word on exercising the demon out of Comiskey? --Jason Rohde, Chicago
I think you are onto something here, Jason. Since the black cat game vs. Texas, the Sox have gone 8-13 and scored 2, 4, 4, 10, 1, 0, 8, 2, 12, 6, 2, 6, 2, 3, 0, 4, 3, 4, 2, 6, and 3 runs, respectively, through June 6. Maybe the little girl jumping out of the stands to battle Konerko for the pop foul the other day will turn things around.